The Washington Commanders selected former LSU quarterback and 2023 Heisman Award winner Jayden Daniels with the second overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. Daniels’ name was in multiple rumors in the days and weeks leading up to the draft, but by Thursday, he was guaranteed to join the Commanders as their new starting quarterback. For most of the offseason, Washington kept quiet about their draft day plans but showed their satisfaction after the selection.

“We knew it was Jayden for a while,” Commanders general manager Adam Peters said. “It would have taken a lot for it not to be Jayden. The whole building, I would say, was unanimous on that one. It’s easy to see why.”

Daniels threw 77.2% for 3,812 yards, 40 touchdowns and four interceptions in his final year with the Tigers as he won the Heisman Award. He also ran for 1,134 yards and ten rushing touchdowns, leading the team to a 10-3 record and No. 13 overall final ranking. Daniels threw for almost 3,000 yards in 2022 with LSU but only finished the year with 17 passing touchdowns and taking a career-high 43 sacks.

Before his time with the Tigers, Daniels played three seasons at Arizona State, throwing for 6,024 yards, 45 total touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 29 games. In his five-year college career, Daniels finished 23rd all-time in total touchdowns and 28th in total passing yards.

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“I turned on Jayden for the first time, and I couldn’t believe how good he was,” Peters said. “He was really good, the way he can process, the way he can see the field, the way he goes through his reads, the way he delivers [the ball] on time. He’s the best deep-ball thrower in the draft, and that’s even before we start watching him run. The way he runs, he just takes your soul as a defense. You think you got him, and then all of a sudden, he rips off a 40-yard run. And this is against the SEC – the best of the best.”

Despite Washington’s confidence in their pick after the draft, they stayed quiet for much of the offseason, as even Daniels was unsure he would be their selection.

“They did a pretty good job of not showing their hand too much,” Daniels said after he was selected. “[But] I was pretty confident off the conversations I had. I’m here now, and I can’t wait to get to work.”

Now, with the Commanders, Daniels takes over for a team that has seen eight starting quarterbacks over the past four seasons. They also haven’t finished with a winning record since 2016; their last playoff win came in 2005. Despite that, the team is under new ownership headed by Josh Harris, a new general manager at Peters, a new head coach in Dan Quinn, and finally, a new quarterback at Daniels.

“They’re going to get someone that’s a competitor that wants to win no matter what,” Daniels said. “I want to help the team win, and at some point in the future, we’ll get this thing turned around.”

Daniels joins an offense with receivers Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, running backs Brian Robinson and new additions Austin Ekeler and tight end Zach Ertz. For a team that has yet to finish a year with ten wins in over a decade, their latest set of offensive playmakers has the potential to bring new life into the Commanders’ organization.

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